2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes: overview

By U.S. Department of Transportation

There were 36,560 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways during 2018, a 2.4-percent decrease from 37,473 in 2017, which came after a 0.9-percent decrease from 2016 to 2017. Prior to 2016 there were two back-to-back yearly increases of 8.4 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. Fatalities decreased from 2017 to 2018 in almost all segments of the population with the exception of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks and nonoccupant fatalities (pedestrians and pedalcyclists).

There were 913 fewer fatalities in 2018 than 2017 in the following (but not limited to).

•Passenger car occupants (702 fewer fatalities, 5.2% decrease)

•Van occupants (98 fewer fatalities, 8.3% decrease)

•SUV occupants (76 fewer fatalities, 1.6% decrease)

•Pickup truck occupants (82 fewer fatalities, 1.9% decrease)

•Motorcyclists (244 fewer fatalities, 4.7% decrease)

•Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities (397 fewer fatalities, 3.6% decrease)

•Speeding-related fatalities (569 fewer fatalities, 5.7% decrease)

•Fatalities in single-vehicle crashes (654 fewer fatalities, 3.2% decrease)

•Fatalities in multiple-vehicle crashes (259 fewer fatalities, 1.5% decrease)

•Passenger vehicle occupants killed in rollover crashes (681 fewer fatalities, 9.5% decrease)

Fatalities increased in 2018 compared to 2017 in these categories.

•Large-truck occupants (7 more fatalities, 0.8% increase)

•Pedestrians (208 more fatalities, 3.4% increase)

•Pedalcyclists (51 more fatalities, 6.3% increase)

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) based on early traffic volume trends (TVT) increased by 0.3 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The fatality rate per 100 million VMT decreased by 3.4 percent from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018.

Over the past 40 years there has been a general downward trend in traffic fatalities. Safety programs such as those increasing seat belt use and reducing impaired driving have substantially lowered the traffic fatalities. Vehicle improvements such as air bags and electronic stability control have also contributed greatly to the reduction of traffic deaths. The partnerships with States on highway safety issues support a range of activities that have saved lives over the years.

California had the largest decrease, with 78 fewer lives lost in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2018. Seventeen States and Puerto Rico saw increases in the number of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities, with the largest increase of 34 fatalities in Puerto Rico followed by 22 more in Montana.


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